Picture Perfect? Exploring the use of smartphone photography in a distributed work practice.

Katrina Pritchard, Gillian Symon

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Our research extends debates regarding technology use for knowledge sharing through examining how smartphone photography mediates a complex, unpredictable distributed work practice: responding to operational problems within a transport system. We offer a narrative analysis examining how smartphone photography may (partially) bridge physical distance between managers and engineers, and how sharing images establishes ‘truths’ and
provides ‘evidence’. We further explore the challenges engineers’ face as the demand for images impacts the acceptance of their verbal accounts. We conclude that smartphone photography prompts the negotiation of new narratives of knowledge sharing, narratives which highlight tensions around the role and status of the digital image. With the increasing availability of smartphones at work, and an emerging interest in the visual in organizational
studies, this research offers both practical and theoretical insights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-576
Number of pages16
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Smartphone, distributed work, communication, organizational knowledge

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